Le Droit et Vous

Can a drop in turnover justify redundancy?

Labour Law
Source: Supreme Court, Social Chamber, April 16th 2015, n°14-10551


The article L.1233-3 of the labour code gives the definition of the economic reasons allowing an employee's redundancy.
Thus, it outlines: «Constitutes a lay-off for economic reasons the lay-off made by an employer for one or several reasons, other than individual motives, resulting from job-cut, change in the job, or modification, refused by the employee, of an essential part of the contract of employment, subsequent in particular to economic difficulties or technologic changes»
Therefore, the employer has to prove real economic difficulties.
In this law case, the Supreme Court had to discuss on the matter whether a drop in turnover of a company was enough to justify the financial difficulties of the company, and therefore justified the employee's redundancy.
It was about an employee who was hired as a salesperson by the owner of a tobacconist's shop, who was made redundant when the owner changed.
The employee had disputed the real and serious cause of her lay-off and the Court of Appeal of Colmar, on November 14th 2013, gave her reason.
The employer made an appeal to the Supreme Court, explaining that the continuous drop in turnover, over several years, proved the economic difficulties and beyond, the employee's redundancy.
The Supreme Court did not follow this argumentation as it confirmed the decision previously rendered, indicating that the Court of Appeal had indeed noticed that the turnover of the company was fluctuating from 2008 to 2010, but was still in profit, and had only taken into consideration that making a lower profit the year before the redundancy was not enough to prove financial difficulties pleaded, and therefore deducted that the redundancy had no real and serious cause.
The employer has therefore been sentenced to pay damages to the employee, her lay-off having been renamed into unfair dismissal.

Natural disaster and visiting and accommodation right

Family Law
Source: Court of Appeal of Toulouse, May 11th 2015, n° 14/03146, n° 15/458


It is an atypical decision rendered, following the nuclear disaster in Fukushima with regards to the accommodation right of a child.
In this law case, where the context is really peculiar, it was about a couple who had met in Japan and had got married in Toulouse in February 2007, shortly before their daughter's birth. In 2008, they had decided to go back to live in Japan, nevertheless following the nuclear accident in Fukushima in 2011, they decided to leave Japan.
In 2012, the husband filed a divorce petition, pronounced by a judgement dated May 7th 2014. The ex-wife went back to leave in Japan, but the parental authority of the daughter was still exercised jointly.
The habitual residence was set with her father, but the mother benefited from a visiting right to be determined amicably or, if not, to be planned in the region Midi-Pyrénées, the first half of school holidays on even-numbered years, and the second half, on odd-numbered years, and the totality of the end-of-year holidays. The mother also had to pay an allowance for the maintenance and education of the child.
The mother partially appealed of this decision, especially in order to receive her daughter in Japan, at her own place, during school holidays.
The father refused such idea because of the major nuclear accident which happened in Fukushima.
The question was therefore to know if a nuclear disaster could have an incidence on the visiting and accommodation right of a mother living in a place close to the place of the sinister.
The Court of Appeal of Toulouse placed the child's interest and the family bonding with the mother's parents, beyond the disaster in order to allow her to receive her daughter at her Japanese place, providing that she was not at risk.
Indeed, the judges based their decision on elements obtained on the French Minister of Foreign Affairs' website, which showed that the place where the child was to be received was not subject to specific restrictions, as only the zone close to the reactors was potentially dangerous.

L’opposabilité de la démission du mandataire social à la procédure collective

Procédure civile et Procédures collectives
Source : Cass. com., 12 mai 2015, n° 14-12.483


Le président d’une société par actions simplifiée donne sa démission de celle-ci le 9 décembre 2011, jour de la réception d'une convocation à un entretien devant le président du tribunal de commerce devant statuer sur l’ouverture d’une liquidation judiciaire de la société pour une audience du 15 décembre 2011.
Par jugement du 21 février 2012, le Tribunal de commerce a, sur saisine d'office, ouvert une procédure de liquidation judiciaire à l'égard de ladite société.
L’ancien président, qui contestait la date retenue pour la cessation des paiements, a formé une tierce opposition à ce jugement.
La Cour d'Appel le déclare irrecevable en sa tierce opposition, estimant que la démission n’avait pas fait l’objet d'aucune formalité de publicité légale, et en conséquence, ce dernier demeurait dans les rapports de la société avec les tiers, en ce compris le tribunal de commerce, son représentant légal à la date du jugement d'ouverture.
Ainsi il n’était pas tiers à la procédure.
Au visa de l’article 583 du Code de Procédure Civile la Cour de cassation censure la décision et considère au contraire que « les fonctions de dirigeant social de M. Y ayant pris fin par l'effet de sa démission, intervenue le 9 décembre 2011, peu important que celle-ci n'ait pas fait l'objet des mesures de publicité légale, il en résultait qu'il n'avait pu figurer en qualité de représentant légal de la société à l'instance ultérieurement introduite à l'égard de celle-ci devant le tribunal de commerce, la cour d'appel a violé le texte susvisé ».